Chile Update

by Hidden Trails 03/03/2010
We are pleased to advise the overall situation is improving after last week’s earthquake.

The city of Santiago is at 80% back to normal after the earthquake although some areas in the suburbs are still without electricity and experiencing communications problems.

Santiago Airport remains partially closed. The authorities have announced a two-phase restoration of airline service.

Phase One (March 3 – 5), domestic flights will arrive and depart from 8:00 AM until 8:00 PM (local time) using temporary facilities at the airport. International flights will arrive and depart from 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM. All international arrivals during Phase One will transit another Chilean airport to clear immigration and customs before arriving in Santiago. All flights will run on a limited schedule and with priority given to those passengers with their flights delayed since the earthquake.

Phase Two will commence on March 6 when the airport will return to round the clock operations, using temporary facilities at the airport but without the need for international arrivals to transit another Chilean airport before arriving and leaving from the country.

Many clients have been taking alternative routes to continue with their travel plans, using alternative land crossings. We are making all the appropriate arrangements for clients who are choosing to do this.

The major damage and more serious issues remain in the regions of Maule and Bio-Bio, where the second largest city of the country is located (Concepción) and where almost 2 million people are homeless. The government is well underway with providing all the necessary support to the affected population in these areas. We will be sending a separate report on how you can help once all details are finalised. These areas are not visited on any of our itineraries.

Once the airport fully re-opens the situation for tourists visiting the country will quickly return to normal and the key highlights of Chile will be fully open. The only area that we have stopped operation at the moment is the area of Colchagua Valley in the Wine Country, as not all the services are yet back to normal. We expect this situation to be resolved within the next two to three weeks.

Many thanks for your kind support and generous assistance during the past few days.

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